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Putting It All Together: MEE Steps To Follow Each Time You Approach A Question


Allocate your time for each question and set your timetable

Since you know the precise composition of questions for your exam, figure out how much you have for each question. Create your own “clock” by writing down the starting and ending times for each question. Follow this clock throughout the exam to stay on track. Budgeting your time and working within that time is the only way to ensure that you’ll complete the exam – or come as close as possible to completing the exam. You begin working toward this goal the minute you start studying for the bar exam.

Scan the exam but answer the questions in order

You want to get a sense of the entire exam but it’s usually best to simply follow the order of questions when answering them. If you start to read each question before to waste valuable time when you could be working productively elsewhere. Chances are that when you return to this question later, it will come to you.

Based on the call-of-the-question


Determine whether it’s a “general” or “specific” style essay.

A “general” style essay will leave the question open-ended. The following are common general calls:

“Analyze fully.”

“Identify all possible claims and defenses.”

“Discuss the cause(s) of action and possible defense(s).

A “specific” essay will present a precise question to be answered:

“Was the court correct in granting Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment?”

“Were the numbered rulings correct?”

Identify the subject area from the call-of-the-question, if possible.
Note any instructions to follow in writing your response.

Before you demonstrate your analytical skills with what you write, you’ll want to show that you can follow basic directions. If you’re asked to write on only one side of the paper or skip every other line, then you must do so. If you’re asked to assume a role – law clerk or judge – then be sure to play that part. If you’re asked to draft a memo, begin your response with a mock memo heading. If you’re asked to reach a conclusion, then by all means answer the question.

Read the entire question for the first time:

Skim through the problem, spending no more than a couple of minutes to acquaint yourself with the general story and the parties.

Re-read the call-of-the-question and set your focus.

Read the question for a second time, but this time read “actively”:

Identify the area of law and the legal relationship between the parties.

Circle amounts of money, dates, locations, quantities and ages.

Note the words “oral” and written.”

Circle adjectives or buzz words.

Identify issues as they appear by writing words which characterize the legal principle.

Outline your answer:

resist the impulse to start writing immediately – it’s worth a few minutes to think through the problem and plan your response. After you’ve completed your second read, and before you write your answer, organize your ideas into an outline based on a consideration of the relevant issues.

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This article is Part Six of a six-part series. Here is where you can find Part OnePart TwoPart Three, Part Four, and Part Five.


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